Did you know that "Kaffe Fassett" rhymes with "safe asset"? Neither did I until today. I share this because I've been saying it wrong for years. AnywaDid you know that "Kaffe Fassett" rhymes with "safe asset"? Neither did I until today. I share this because I've been saying it wrong for years. Anyway!
This is a collection of 20 quilts, some of them in 2-3 different colorways to give you some ideas of what you can do. I looooove Fassett's sense of color, movement, and play. I love his honesty about the fact that he doesn't do the sewing himself, and he gives a lot of credit to his collaborator for how the quilts turn out. That said, his unique sense of color is beautifully on display in all of these quilts, and his writing style is warm and passionate and humane. He really loves what he does, and he loves looking at things and noodling around with color. His quilt sensibility is a little different than mine, but it's still a masterwork in how to get across color mood.
I think my favorite quilts were a saffron-gold number with circles, a set of concentric squares made out of striped shirting fabric, and a window-covering of single-layer patchwork. All of them are things I could imagine making and living with.
Since I was not looking to make a specific quilt and I just wanted to bathe in the glory, it was a fine library find. I briefly glanced at the instructions, and there were some good tips on doing the concentric blocks with strip piecing, and none of it seemed so poorly written that it would be impossible to follow. I imagine buying it expensive, because the full color printing on many pages is not cheap, but it might make an amazing coffee table book. (or a calendar. mmmm)
Read if: You love absorbing ideas from other designers, you love color.
Skip if: You are looking for unique construction techniques or step-by-step instructions for a nervous quilter....more
As usual, Fassett's sense of color and design are stunning. There's this depth richness and playfulness that I seldom see in other designers.
I feel liAs usual, Fassett's sense of color and design are stunning. There's this depth richness and playfulness that I seldom see in other designers.
I feel like he is coming at knitting from some place not very familiar to me -- there are a lot of giant motifs and unsecured floats and things that can really only be intarsia. It's lovely! On the other hand, as pretty as it is, it looks like a righteous pain to knit. Like just... not born knit, y'know? Like a person would end up with something lovely, but only after cursing the names of their ancestors because of the four color rows of extreme misery.
I bet the patterns would make amazing cross stitch patterns, though!
Read if: You are looking for color and pattern inspiration.
Skip if: You are knitting while doing anything else at all.
Also read: any book on traditional stranded colorwork....more
I found some really excellent techniques in this book. Although it is billed as suitable for beinging sewists, I think you would need to have a basicI found some really excellent techniques in this book. Although it is billed as suitable for beinging sewists, I think you would need to have a basic idea of how patterns go together and some construction theory before you could be successful with it. That said, it is breaking my heart that I did not have this book, or Spandex Simplified: Sewing for Skaters when I was struggling to teach myself how to sew skating dresses. Spandex is so different than anything else.
The writing style was casual but clear, the copyediting pretty good, and the pictures were super helpful. I especially liked the shots of what you could do with a certain technique. The picture of the Firebird performance costumes made me swear in admiration.
Things I found especially helpful, at my current level of skill (journeyman): * Advice on applique. Oh my gosh, this was genius. Simple and workable. * Advice on wedgie-proofing spandex bottoms. * Advice on attaching elastic differentially on straight sections and curves. * An overview of how to add ruching and colorblocking. * Costume gloves, including cuffs.
Using this book, I can totally understand how I could construct a Captain Marvel costume. Or more pertinently, a Captain Marvel bike jersey.
Read if: You are interested in sewing form-fitting costumes, swimsuits, or performance clothes. There are also other books in this series that are more relevant to that. Read if you are scared of sewing with spandex or don't know how you could use a regular sewing machine to do so.
Skip if: You are looking for a prop-making book. This is not that book.
I really appreciated the attitude of this book -- it's all about figuring out what makes you HAPPY, and wearing more of that, and less of the stuff yoI really appreciated the attitude of this book -- it's all about figuring out what makes you HAPPY, and wearing more of that, and less of the stuff you "should" wear.
First, you identify the things that you are proud of about your body and then she gives you specific advice for how to showcase that body part most effectively. There is also advice about downplaying body parts you feel less proud of.
Then you consider how you want to present yourself, and actually think about it, instead of defaulting into whatever has been easy for you to buy in the past.
Then, you look at your closet and carve away everything that isn't an elephant. That is, you get rid of all the clothes that don't make you feel happy, that don't fit your new vision, that don't actually get airtime on your body.
Finally, you start restocking your closet with items that are going to work with your new vision of yourself.
There are a lot of really practical tips here on what makes your shoulders look narrower or wider, or your arms look shorter or longer. I hadn't known that ideally your shirts should be different lengths for wearing with pants or skirts, but seeing the photographs makes it clear.
The photos are another great selling point, and a reason to buy this book in paper, unless you have the ability to view the ebook in hi def color. They are from a selection of fashion/clothing bloggers, and include a wide cross section of women, including at least one "plus size" person, and a wheelchair user. It is nice to see the message of the book backed up by the people who contributed visuals.
I think that both Coco Chanel and Rebel Wilson would remain unchanged in their dressing style after reading this book, and that is a testament to how well the advice respects individual style.
Read if: You are looking for a friendly, upbeat guide to dressing the body you have, not your aspirational body.
Skip if: You are allergic to the step-by-step, introspective style of self-improvement books....more
I was really blown away by the depth of characterization in this graphic novel. The story is fragmented, by its nature and the nature of the narrator,I was really blown away by the depth of characterization in this graphic novel. The story is fragmented, by its nature and the nature of the narrator, but that didn't really bother me.
The art added a lot to the nuance of the story, but I think my favorite part is the distinct voices and personalities of each character. Everyone who has been telling you that you should read this is probably correct.
Read if: You like love stories with philosophy in them, or the other way around.
Skip if: You are not going to be amused by an opening scene that involves a foul-mouthed soldier giving birth, or if you can't handle scenes of explicit violence and sex. But I think they feel... relevant to the stories and characters.
Also read: [book:God's War|9359818 , by Kameron Hurley. For another foul-mouthed female soldier....more
This is a perennial comfort re-read. It's a Georgian-era romance, not Regency, so don't be confused by the change in costume. People are still people.This is a perennial comfort re-read. It's a Georgian-era romance, not Regency, so don't be confused by the change in costume. People are still people.
If this were fanfic, I'd say it was improbable ridiculous id-fic. As it was duly published and everything, I guess we'll note that Dickens did some storylines that were almost as coincidental and ridiculous, and we can just all roll on.
Essentially, older, powerful, rich man adopts and comes to treasure his young ingenue while simultaneously completing a revenge plot that Sheridan would have been proud of penning. Also there are poetry salons, sword fights, and fiery red curls. If you are looking for a nuanced and equitable relationship, um, move along to some other book.
Read if: You have a narrative Thing about cool and sophisticated older men and the sweet young things who humanize them. You like revenge tragedies.
Skip if: French, cross-dressing, or problematic female roles will keep you from enjoying the story.
Also read: The Black Moth, Heyer's first novel, and the obvious precursor to These Old Shades....more
This is a long-time comfort read of mine, complete with derring-do, clever disguises, and remarkably little death for a WWII novel. It is the story ofThis is a long-time comfort read of mine, complete with derring-do, clever disguises, and remarkably little death for a WWII novel. It is the story of the "inescapable" Castle Colditz, where all the escapists from other prison camps were concentrated.
I like it for the clever nature of the disguises and the reasonably humanizing view of everyone involved.
This book had lots of promising ingredients. The lead character is a widow of a certain age, who is... well, I wouldn't say enjoying. ParticiMmm, meh.
This book had lots of promising ingredients. The lead character is a widow of a certain age, who is... well, I wouldn't say enjoying. Participating in a relationship with a hot French woman. She is also secretly an author of lurid adventure stories based on her real life observations. The supporting characters are, on the whole, interesting and well-drawn.
But in the end, I didn't find Bella very sympathetic. I think she is cruel to her lover, disdainful of her own talents, and lacking follow-through in the mystery department. And not being able to like one's main character is no way to enjoy the book.
Read if: You are totally out of Anne Perry books and you don't have anything else to read.
Skip if: You are looking for an orderly mystery with a soothing resolution. You are hoping for someone to get justifiably trampled by an elephant.
I've probably read this book 20+ times since I first met it when I was 12. It never gets old.
It is the kind of macro/micro writing that I think MowatI've probably read this book 20+ times since I first met it when I was 12. It never gets old.
It is the kind of macro/micro writing that I think Mowat does spectacularly well, now focused on the story of three ships -- two deep-sea rescue tugs and one Lend-Lease surplus freighter.
A far-from-comprehensive list of things I learned from this book: * What the legs on oil-drilling platforms are called. * What kind of ballast you get from the Thames. * The effect fog used to have on radios. * What a Carley float is. * Why you can't just tie up to the ship you're towing. * How much list 60 degrees is. * How some hurricanes start. * What happens when your boiler explodes. * How big a pump you can move in a dory. * What it's like to fly a plane into a hurricane. * How much weather satellites have changes the world. * What the Great Circle Track is. * What the Beaufort scale is.
And so much more. I can't get over how meticulous the research on this book is. The bit with the meterologists in Africa. The book that Sparky sets his soldering iron on. The thing is that Sparky (on the Leicester) died in the storm, so someone must have seen his cabin or inventoried his stuff? But it gives the whole book so much texture.
And it's not just the battle to save one ship. I still laugh at the stories of the crewmen, the guy from Come-By-Chance who was planning to take back blackstrap rum and retire forever, or the crew getting "pirate fever" and flitting all over their salvaged boat.
I think the reason this book and its companion are so repeatable for me is that I get dropped into a whole different world, and that world is as richly constructed as any of the most intricate science fiction books I read. It just happens to be history instead of make-believe.
Read if: You enjoy a good story. You love books about boats. You have liked other Mowat. You love seamless learning.
Skip if: You think non-fiction books should be dry. You are not that into learning salvage techniques of 60 years ago.
This may be my favorite of all the Regency Christmas collections. There are a metric ton. I am not the only one who treats holiday stress with mistletThis may be my favorite of all the Regency Christmas collections. There are a metric ton. I am not the only one who treats holiday stress with mistletoe kisses).
I could write reviews on each of the stories, but you should read them all. From Under the Kissing Bough, which includes an extended description of scrumping pinecones, to The Christmas Mouse, which charmingly reminds me of The Reluctant Widow, the whole thing is warm, cheering, charming, and not full of appalling people. It is not currently available on ebook, but I am going to make my mom bring the copy we share.
Read if: You want your heart to grow three sizes. You are looking for just the thing to take the edge off a long pre-holiday day without getting into a big book. You like short stories that know what they are and fit into their space.
Skip if: You are grinchy about Christmas romances.
Take one prototypical American westerner, and drop him in Victorian academia. It's the story equivalenWho doesn't love a good fish out of water story?
Take one prototypical American westerner, and drop him in Victorian academia. It's the story equivalent of Diet Coke and Mentos. The result is explosive, fizzy, and impossible not to giggle at.
Samuel and Jane are an excellent combination, and together, you believe they can do anything. Jane brings all the suave, and Samuel brings a surprising array of talents.
Although set in the same universe as A College of Magics, the magical structure is both similar and different in ways that seem oddly real-world to me. I have always thought that if there were magic, it wouldn't be very homogenously applied across physical and cultural barriers. This book seems true to that theory.
Read if: You love a good period romp, and some interesting and unusual magical worldbuilding. You are my sister.
Skip if: You are looking for something thoughtful and analytical. You are only in it for the romance.
Also read: A College of Magics Naturally, you should read this one, too. I don't think order matters too much. Territory For Western magic and differences in magical inflection....more
I like reading failure analysis books. I think understanding the complex moving parts that seem so small in the moment and add up makes me a better wrI like reading failure analysis books. I think understanding the complex moving parts that seem so small in the moment and add up makes me a better writer, possibly a more conscientious person.
This book is a narrative about bad decisions that seemed only a little bad at the time, and added up to something catastrophic. The weather, the decision-making structure, the equipment, the decisions on the ground, they all added up to something that we call an accident. And it was an accident, in many ways. No one person is to blame, none of it was directly foreseeable, and yet we can learn so many ways to do it better.
Maclean is inclined to come down a bit harder on the BLM than the firefighters, but overall, it does not feel like anyone is excused from their poor judgment. I could have lived without the hokey numerology.
I especially liked MacLean's focus on the impact of the deaths on the community. I was a senior in high school in 1994, and knew kids on hot shot teams. One friend ran the radios for her dad's crew, another was funding college. I think a shudder went through the whole ecosystem of wildfire fighters when Storm King happened. This was not your father's Mann Gulch, this was people we knew, at least in type. We could see their sports records in our gyms, and their sisters in our class.
There's a Red Flag Watch up in my hometown today, and it seems good to remember what we have learned and keep re-learning.
Read if: You also like failure analysis, you are interested in descriptions of the chance that causes people to live or die.
Skip if: Reading about the death of people just trying to do their job is going to bother you.
Also read: Norman MacLean's Fire and Young Men. Godforsaken Sea....more
This is not one of MacLean's tightly-plotted masterpieces, but it does make a really satisfying head-movie on a hot summer day. The oil fields of AlasThis is not one of MacLean's tightly-plotted masterpieces, but it does make a really satisfying head-movie on a hot summer day. The oil fields of Alaska and the tar sands of Canada are being threatened by some shadowy and efficient terrorist organization. Our two intrepid investigators are out to find out what's going on.
Included: research nuggets about oil and the effects of extreme cold. Adorably crusty characters. Pretty girls. Hard drinking. Fisticuffs.
Read if: You are a MacLean completist. You love the cold books.
I picked this book up because I had heard good things about The Hum and the Shiver, by the same author, but it wasn't available in the bookstore I hapI picked this book up because I had heard good things about The Hum and the Shiver, by the same author, but it wasn't available in the bookstore I happened to be standing in.
So I laughed pretty much all the way through this book. I think we should start with the fact that the woman on the cover is wearing an Elizabethan dress and the period of the book is, well, as much as it's period at all, Arthurian/middle ages. This is actually a cunning warning that history as you may think of it is not the focus here, and really this is a role-playing sword-and-sorcery version of Sam Spade.
The plot is convoluted, and I was going to mock it for the amount of (off-screen)incest, but that part is at least in the other Arthurian stories. To sum up, our hero is just tailing a cheating husband, like you do as a private eye, when he gets himself caught up in a royal conspiracy with murder and poisoning and coup and midnight rides with a corpse.
Let me be clear. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is an awesome airplane book. It's just not the kind of book you feel impelled to make your book club read.
Read if: You liked the Harry Dresden books. You are capable of reading ahistorical arthuriana without damage to your teeth or soul. You would enjoy the adventures of a reluctantly-moral private dick with a sword.
Skip if: You actually care about history. You hate noir retellings in other periods....more